Integrity Watch Afghanistan urges government to expedite inquiry into Kabul Bank case

Integrity Watch Afghanistan (IWA), a Kabul-based independent organization working for transparency, accountability and integrity in Afghanistan, has called on the government to expedite inquiry into the high-profile case of Kabul Bank.

Sayed Ikram Afzali, Executive Director of IWA, on Saturday said the Kabul Bank fraud case has severely affected economy and development in Afghanistan and dented the trust of people in government banking institutions.

He warned that if necessary legal proceedings against the 155 people accused in the case are not initiated soon, it will further alienate people and they will feel betrayed.

The story of Kabul Bank’s downfall, which was the largest banking service provider in Afghanistan with an extensive network of branches across the country, continues to be shrouded in mystery.

The story of Kabul Bank’s downfall, which was the largest banking service provider in Afghanistan with an extensive network of branches across the country, continues to be shrouded in mystery

The premier bank of Afghanistan faced bankruptcy in 2010 following the embezzlement of at least 900 million USD. It was unarguably one the largest banking failures in the world.

Many high-profile government officials and shareholders of the bank were found directly and indirectly responsible for the crisis, but no action was taken against them.

On day two of his presidency, President Ashraf Ghani ordered reinvestigation into the Kabul Bank fraud case. He instructed the AGO to oversee the arrest of individuals involved in the case.

Sher Khan Farnood, chairman of the bank and Khalilullah Ferozi, chief executive officer of the bank were considered the key culprits and were sentenced to 5 years in jail by a special court in Kabul. In addition, Mr. Ferozi was asked to pay 531 million USD and Mr. Farnood 278 million USD.

Husain Fahim, brother of the then vice president Marshal Qasim Fahim and Mahmood Karzai, brother of the then president Hamid Karzai were two influential people accused in the case.

Both of them were given clean chit by the court, which said they have already returned loan to the bank.

On July 6, two weeks after President Ghani issued an ultimatum to Kabul Bank debtors to clear their dues, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced that the government has issued travel ban on 150 debtors and frozen their assets.

On July 6, the Attorney General’s Office (AGO) announced that the government has issued travel ban on 150 debtors and frozen their assets

Kabul Bank Clearance Committee, which was formed four months ago, has been tasked to expedite inquiry into the high-profile case of Kabul Bank.

According to the committee report, a total of 228 million USD has been recovered so far. A total of 30 debtors have cleared their debt and 10 others have shown willingness to clear their debt as well.

The committee report claims that a number of debtors remain absconding and have been put on the “wanted list” of Interpol.

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